As a diver you need to take care of your ears! Equalizing early, often and before discomfort is felt. I've seen divers cause some bad injuries to their ears trying to force it and that's no fun at all.
I use the nose pinch and blow method and find that works best for me. Some divers can do it by wiggling their jaw or just swallowing. Try a few different methods and find what works best for you.
Tips for equalizing:
- Check before you go! Try equalizing on the surface before you go diving. If you don't hear a "pop" in both ears you may have a problem.
- Warm up! I'm not talking about jumping jacks. Start warming up your eustachian tubes several hours before diving by equalizing or chewing gum.
- Start from the surface. Equalize before you begin descending. This will normally help to make it easier as you start descending.
- Feet first! Descending feet first makes equalizing easier than head first.
- Use the line. By using a descent line you can better control the rate of your descent.
- Early and often! Stay ahead of it and equalize before you actually feel that you need to.
- Stop if it hurts. Continuing down will only make it worse. Stop and ascend a bit. Equalize then try to continue your descent at a slower rate.
- Cut the cow! Milk products can increase mucus production therefore making equalizing harder.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol. Both will irritate your mucus membranes.
- Vented ear plugs are available that will help make equalizing easier. Look for Doc's Pro Plugs. We have them at AquaSub!
Dive safe and never force it!